Satelliteland goes voting

A report from The Elysian Republican, May 2197

Today the citizens of the Republic of Satelliteland will elect the 225 members of the house of representatives. After fifty years of independence from Elysia, this might be the most important elections in the country’s history.

Satelliteland is divided into 225 constituencies, each will elect one representative through instant runoff voting. The house of representatives is the only elected institution at the national level, as the president is elected for life by the house of representatives and the members of the senate are appointed by the president.

No parties

There are no formal political parties in Satelliteland, though there are three main political groups in parliament: radical nationalists, moderate nationalists and moderate unionists. A fourth group, the radical unionists, refuse to participate in the political process as they believe the secession of Satelliteland from Elysia is illegitimate.

The main cleavage in the nation’s political spectrum is between nationalists and unionists. The latter seek to undo the indepence of Satellite and want their country to be reunited with Elysia. The nationalists, unsurprisingly, want their country to remain independent.

By definition unionists oppose the enslavement of humanoid pseudo-animals. The issue of slavery is also the difference between moderate and radical nationalists, of whom the latter consider slavery as the very cornerstone of Satelliteland society and culture. Moderate nationalists, however, are in favor of gradual, compensated emancipation of HPA slaves.

Since an increasing portion of the Satelliteland electorate does not own any slaves, the continuation of slavery is becoming less an issues for the majority of the population. Nevertheless the elite consist almost completely of slave-owners.

Moderate nationalists have the largest support among recent, non-Elysian immigrants, who do not own slaves and have no ties with Elysia. After independence the government of Satelliteland eased the restrictions on immigration as an attempt to weaken the unionist movement. But this policy might now backfire against the elite.

Queen Iris

The major antithesis between radical and moderate nationalists, besides slavery, is the support for the president. After independence Catharina Attasuuri become president for life of the new republic. Under the constitution she had pushed through, the president has significant powers which are strengthened by the fact that impeachment is virtually impossible.

Though the president is formally elected by the house of representative, parliament can only vote for or against a candidate nominated by the government. The president-elect will serve as vice-president until the president dies or resigns.

Since both Catharina and her daughter and successor Iris, the only two presidents the country has ever had, have ruled the country in an authoritarian fashion with little space for parliament, critics have argued that Satellitand is actually a hereditary monarchy. And it is the authoritarian style of government which separates moderate from radical nationalists.

Moderate nationalists want to reduce the powers of the president and to shift power to the house of representatives. While radical nationalist voice unconditional support for the president, who is mocked by her opponents as “Queen Iris”.

The opposition against the government of “Queen Iris” is what unites moderate nationalist and moderate unionists. It is not entirely unfeasible that they might form a coalition, as these two groups are likely to obtain a majority in the house of representatives. If such coalition would come into power, it would be a serious threat for the president and her associates.

Southern discontent

Most unionists live in the southern third of the country and due to this fact, the national government has ignored the south as much as possible. No large investments have been done in the south for the last five decades. This deliberate policy has only worked counter-productive as unionism has only strengthened in this part of the country.

Both Iris and her mother has defended this policy of “starving the south”. In their view southern unionist are traitors who should be punished. This ignores that before independence the south heavily relied on export of their products to Elysia, which has become impossible as Elysia banned all imports from Satelliteland. Though this policy has been relaxed a bit, the south still suffers from its loss of income.

No surprise that the population of South-Satelliteland is in majority against the state or at least its current government. Therefore moderate unionists might be willing to cooperate with moderate nationalist as a coalition government might change for the better in the south.

Nevertheless radical unionist consider their moderate colleagues to be traitors as they participate in “an illegal system”. In their view the only legitimate method to get rid of the “usurpers” is military intervention by Elysia. Only problem for them is that the Elysian public does not seemed interested in a new war against their former territory.

Voters can cast their ballots until 22h local time.

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